Posted by: Admin | August 2, 2010


I have two words for you today – Merlene Ottey. Did you see her run on Saturday? As part of the Slovenian women’s 4 x 100m relay team, she is the oldest athlete to ever compete in the European Championships.

Merlene Ottey (Reuters)

Turning 50 in May clearly held no significance for sprinter, Merlene. Interviewed on the BBC she expressed the desire to “see what I can do at 60… see how fast I can run.” And why not? This month at the Masters women’s 100 metres in her adopted country, Slovenia, she ran 11.67 seconds – just .93 seconds under her personal best, set in Milan in 1996. And this is the woman whose country of birth asked her to step aside for younger athletes in 2002!

Here’s a quick round-up of this legendary athlete’s achievements from The Guardian:

Since Ottey won her first international medal at the Olympic Games in Moscow 30 years ago – a bronze in the 200m – she has broken record after record. Fourth on the all‑time list for 100m and third for 200m, her cabinet boasts nine Olympic medals – the most for a track and field athlete – and 14 world championship medals, the most by any female athlete. The list goes on: claiming the 200m title at the 1995 world championships made her the world’s oldest track gold medallist, while winning a relay silver and 100m bronze medal in Sydney made her the oldest Olympic athletics medallist.”

Ottey concedes that Barcelona might be her last major championship: “Unless I get a huge miracle it’s possible (this will be my last) but we will see.” Her motivation, it seems, is undiminished, though her priorities have changed with age. “For me there is no pressure now. I enjoy what I do. I can afford to train three days a week. If I want to do less I can do less. My priority now is to be healthy and see what I can do. If it’s good enough to be at a championships then I will go.”

For a limited period, you can see the BBC interview with Merlene Ottey by clicking here.

Watch and remember Merlene Ottey when you’re struggling to complete your next circuit at the gym… 😉


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